New Executive Director of Muncie Downtown Development Partnership Feels Right at Home in Muncie

Carrie Wright (L) shows Angie Hibner (R) some of her handpainted silk scarves. Photo by Mike Rhodes
Carrie Wright (L) shows Angie Hibner (R) some of her handpainted silk scarves. Photo by Mike Rhodes

By Stacey A. Shannon—

MUNCIE, IN— Lifelong Hoosier, Angie Hibner, accepted the position of executive director of Muncie Downtown Development Partnership last June and hasn’t looked back since. When the global pandemic caused her consulting business to come to a screeching halt, Hibner knew she was ready for a change.

She and her husband sold their house in Anderson and moved to Noblesville to be closer to work opportunities. Then, Hibner saw the executive director position open and was drawn to it right away.

 “When I came and interviewed, I felt like I was home,” said the Anderson University alumna.

Hibner and her family moved to Delaware County when she accepted the position and will move into a residence downtown in the summer. She has appreciated the people and connections in Muncie the very most.

 “Now that we live here, I absolutely love it,” Hibner said. “We fit in. It’s a great community. I love that [downtown] feels like a small town in itself.”

Along with getting settled into her new home base, Hibner sought out business and community leaders to get feedback on what was going well in downtown and what gaps needed to be filled. In doing so, she discovered Muncie wasn’t always great at telling its story, and that’s something she’s working to remedy.

In a partnership with Ball State University, she learned the current young adult generation responds best to wall murals and art projects. So, she’s making that a priority in downtown in order to improve education about Muncie’s history.

 “It not only gives you that definition of where you’re living, working and playing, but it gives you that sense of pride,” she said.

Angie points out details in one of Carrie’s silk paintings. As depicted in the photo above, Angie recently met with Carrie Wright inside her business named Carrie Wright Silk Gifts and Gallery located at 405 S. Walnut St., Suite 201 in downtown Muncie. Wright has operated her business downtown for one year. Wright specializes in a far-eastern method of artwork creation called silk painting. Silk is the substrate for her art and color is applied with a brush in a manner similar to watercolor. Wright’s husband Dan is a well known commercial artist in the Muncie area and also works within the gallery. Dan is one of Muncie’s three nationally syndicated cartoonists along with Jim Davis and T.K. Ryan. Photo by Mike Rhodes

History isn’t the only timeline Hibner is interested in, however. She also enjoys helping downtown business owners make connections in the present. Muncie Downtown Development Partnership offers a variety of resources for downtown businesses including a regular Downtown Merchants Meeting that allows downtown business owners to network and inspire one another with new ideas. For 2024, Hibner is most looking forward to seeing those connections grow and thrive.

 “As a business owner, sometimes you can feel secluded and feel like you’re alone,” she said. “We’re connecting all of them. You have that camaraderie and that connectedness.”

Another objective Hibner is working toward is making sure Delaware County residents are aware of all that goes on in downtown Muncie and know they are always invited to come check out the variety of shops, restaurants and cultural activities.

“There are a lot of hidden gems here,” she said of Muncie. “I cannot believe how talented…our downtown business owners are. They’re super talented at what they do, and very passionate about it – and it’s unique things.”

Hibner said she’s spoken with people who live within a few minutes of downtown but haven’t visited for a decade. She wants to change that.

 “Come down and find your place,” she said. “DWNTWN Muncie is a place for everyone.